The best strategy to survive a recession is to make sure every customer comes to you however small the number may be. Customer Acquisition and Retention thus are one of the reasonable ways to survive during the upcoming recession due to COVID-19. The best part of survival is to hope for the best and to prepare for the worst on all fronts. Getting the best ROI and acquiring customers during the post-lockdown period is going to be a tough task with a recession around the corner.
If you are an entrepreneur, then you must have faced the flak by now. Internet is flooded with news predicting a recession like never before. Negative GDP Growth has been projected for many nations.
In this article, we shall discuss how to prepare for this recession by giving emphasis on Customer Acquisition. And the best way to prepare is to leave no stone unturned.
Let us get an idea about what is in store for you in this blog, with this checklist-
- Prepare to Prevent COVID-19
- Prepare to Sell
- Market Research
- Budget Allocation
- Customer Experience
- Retention of Old Customers
- Customer Acquisition
To scale the crest of any peak, one has to continuously observe, analyse, plan, trek uphill, rest and repeat. Customer Acquisition and getting the Best Return on Investment (ROI) are distinct yet related. Improved ROI is closely related to customer acquisition and retention.
Acquiring customers with disregard to ROI will impact the economic stability of your enterprise. Dislocating the resources while having a low ROI will affect the liquid assets of your enterprise. Investment is in the entrepreneur’s hands but the returns cannot be bought with money. Different approaches will bring you, different customers. The aspects of Customer Acquisition are similar for different customers, but not the same. There would be a difference in advertisements displayed on a TV, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Prepare to prevent
Take these precautions to prevent yourself and your customers from COVID-19. When customers know you are taking precautions, they will feel safe and visit your enterprise more often.
- Compulsory sanitization of hands for everyone entering the shop.
- Educate your employees about taking precautions and to be polite while informing the customers about the same.
- Sanitize the points of frequent contact (Doorknobs, counter table, elevator buttons, etc) every two hours.
- Ask your customers to remove footwear before entering your premises.
- Politely request customers with visible symptoms to step out, and provide them with what they need outside the premises.
- Make sure no customer touches anything which they are not buying.
- Encourage cashless payments.
- Sanitize every returned item before touching.
Prepare to Sell
Necessity is the mother of all inventions, and aunt of all the sales. Make sure your inventory is full of necessities of your customers and your website offers what your clients need. Customer needs and necessities will change a lot as long as COVID-19 and economic slowdowns are making the rounds. Also, have the ability to convince the customer that they need what you have. A customer won’t appear anywhere near your store or website unless they need something and know that you have what they need.
A customer does not only need a product or service, but they also cherish a pleasing shopping experience more than a mere transaction. Also, you must note down that customer acquisition is good for sustaining your business while customer retention is necessary to reach the top and stay there.
Periodic Market Research is equally crucial for both new and old businesses because change is the only permanent thing in any market. Ongoing market trends can be fairly quantified by extensive market research. Any sales or marketing effort without proper market research will exhibit a weaker performance. Define the outline of your ideal customer, understand their requirements and devise a marketing strategy according to your market research. Refer to this complete guide on market research for further information.
The most important part of your Customer Acquisition plan is to fix a budget that is just the right size. You cannot entirely rely on money to acquire customers, smart work is always better than paid work. Calculate all of your monthly expenses and deduct it from your monthly revenue generated. Use the remaining amount partly for Smart Customer Acquisition. Startups need to allot the budget with their fundings, that too after keeping a reasonable amount for smooth operations aside.
Customer Experience- Acquisition and Retention
What experience a customer gets after shopping with you determines how frequently they will buy from you. Customer experience is an important factor which determines if a customer will purchase from you again or not. Customer is the King and you should treat them like one. Making changes to the way you greet and entertain a customer is as important as making changes to other material things (interiors, UI/UX, product presentation, etc.). Train your employees to be polite to the customer, greet them with timed and seasonal greetings, saying thank you after payment, and much more. Kindness has no limits and is seen by the blinds and heard by the deaf too. An average person has a tendency to frequent visits to kind people.
Decision Process of a Typical Customer Works in Three Ways-
- Input- Visits, Enquiries, Searches, etc.
- Processing- Should I buy this/ Do I need this/ Is this good? etc.
- Reaction- Sales, Reservations, Orders, Alienation, Cart Abandonment, etc.
Senses are the Input Devices
To acquire new customers you need to attract their senses. Please your potential customers’ inputs (sense organs) with the right content to create intent. Not all businesses can optimise their business to attract all sense organs, e.g. a website cannot produce the smell of food it is selling. Use this section accordingly-
- Eyes- How you present your physical shop or website makes a huge difference to your sales. Make your shop or website visibly attractive. Every colour evokes a different reaction from the human mind. Nicely presented products have a higher chance of being sold. Tailor your displays according to the products/services you’re offering. Do not forget to display honest positive testimonials at places that are easily visible.
- Ears- Play intriguing music in the background of your physical store. Carefully choose music for your lead generation or product promotion videos. Ask your employees to be polite to a fault while conversing with the leads or customers.
- Skin- Make your seating arrangements comfortable, so that customers feel important. Offer a warm handshake (please avoid if there is no vaccine made for COVID-19) to every person visiting your store, whether they buy something or not.
- Tongue- The food you prepare in your restaurant, FMCG, etc. should have the ability to satiate the taste buds of your customers.
- Nose- Again, food businesses can let the aroma of freshly prepared food products spread to the waiting area of your business. Non-food businesses can make use of room fresheners or other deodorisers to create a calming and soothing experience that makes your customers want to visit again and again.
Other than senses, availability of variety and customization in your products also play an important role in Customer Acquisition.
Aspects That Drive The Customer Processing System
Appeasing the inputs of a customer is just the beginning. There are many other things which play an important role in the decision-making process of a customer-
Nobody wants to be cheated. There should be a system in place for-
- Easy returns
- After-sales service
- Customer care
Customer data must be kept private. Violation of customer privacy is a big reason for customer distrust. While cold calling, measures should be taken to ensure that customer privacy is not violated. Avoid selling private customer data to third parties. Keep the frequency of promotional SMSs, E-mails, Cold Calls once a week or only when urgently required.
Apart from being friendly to your customers, you should make sure that your services should not discriminate against your customers on any grounds, especially their financial status. Privileged customer service is a completely different thing, but it should not make other customers feel inferior.
Get honest and genuine reviews from your satisfied customers. Display them on your homepage, exteriors of your store and wherever it is easy for your potential customers to look at. Doing this will make it easy for your customers to trust your brand.
Be ready to hear your customer ranting about your services or products if they are not up to the mark. Critical feedback must be encouraged, it does a trick. It tricks your customer into believing that you value them and they will see an improvement the next time they visit you.
Think positive about every potential customer who visits your store. Give an honest smile to every person visiting your store. Optimise the decor of your store in such a way that inspires positivity. Make use of impactful positive quotes at places which are frequented by customer eyeballs.
Employees’ Behaviour towards Handling Customers
Don’t hire employees with a short temper. Train your employees to be patient while handling customers. Tell them to consider that they are dealing with kids with low IQ while dealing with customers. Regularly motivate them to be friendly, caring and determined to drive sales. This determination will make them extra careful in customer handling.
The various reactions of a customer maybe-
- Making purchase
- Placing order
- Cart abandonment
- Bounce rate
A reaction depends on the input and processing of a customer’s mind. If a customer is at your store or on your website just to have a look, they will not buy from you at all, no matter what you do. In this part, you can only make changes to the previous two aspects (input and processing) as per the customer reaction. You will have to determine what drove the customer’s decision and improve/change it accordingly.
Experts are saying that this period is just to survive, just be alive to see the sunrise on the next day. This article is your survival plan. Bookmark this page and refer to it whenever you feel like you are not making any progress. We are all in this together and believe that we shall sail through victorious, for believing makes it happen.